Why Your Vacation Rental Needs a Name

Guest post by: Sarah Brubaker of WebChalet.com

I recently received this email from a friend: “I found the perfect vacation rental for our Bahamas trip. Available September 10-18. The house is on FlipKey (#506635) called ‘Sunset House’ and sleeps 10. Check out the photos and your calendars. Who’s in?”

When I received the email, the first thing that stood out to me is that the friend not only included the FlipKey listing number but also called the vacation rental by its name “Sunset House.” I realized that the owner of “Sunset House” is actually a WebChalet client because I recognized the name of the vacation home.

Create a Brand for your Vacation Rental

A name is a way to establish an identity for your vacation rental, build a brand and help generate word of mouth marketing. A name is also a way for guests to remember your rental. I can guarantee you that when someone asks me where I stayed in the Bahamas a year from now, I am not going to remember a FlipKey number but there is a good chance that I will remember the name “Sunset House” (and associate it with cocktail house and the amazing view at sunset). With an easy-to-remember name, you can also increase your word of mouth referrals. Word of mouth – recommendations made by friends, co-workers, or neighbors you know and trust – is the most effective and cost-effective way to win new guests. You cannot create this word of mouth buzz when your past guests don’t have a brand name to share.

Show Up in Search Results

A second reason to name your vacation rental is that it is highly likely that guests will type your vacation rental name into their search engine. In fact, a recent vacation rental marketing survey found 74% of people looking for vacation rentals would definitely “Google” the name of the property or the owner outside the listing environment. Today guests are doing their own research before booking. Let’s say you gave your vacation rental a generic name like “Bahamas Vacation Rental.” In addition to not being memorable, it is very difficult to optimize your listing or your personal vacation rental website for this search as you will be buried below many other websites. Now type the phrase “Sunset House in the Bahamas” into Google.com. What shows up? The Sunset House’s FlipKey listing, VRBO listing, and the owner’s personal website.

Importance of a Vacation Rental Website

Because users may type your vacation rental name directly into Google or Bing, you should not only include your vacation rental name on all your listings, but also optimize your personal website for the keywords as well. You can expect users to research your brand online and this is a way to take control of your brand image. Guests will look to see where else the house is listed. Are there other reviews on other listing websites? If you have a professional vacation rental website design, you can establish a brand and instantly impress your guests. A user doing her due diligence can now find more information about the vacation home and local area and is more likely to book.

How to Name your Vacation Home

The vacation rental name can be whimsical, but most importantly, it needs to be memorable so it is top of mind when a guest is choosing which vacation rental to book. If your vacation rental has a special feature or attribute, you could tie this into the name. A great name will help set you apart from your competition and help you create a brand that past and future guests can identify with. As for me, I am already daydreaming about sunset hour at the “Sunset House.”

Sarah Brubaker is Co-Founder of WebChalet.com, a vacation rental software company making it easy for owners and managers to book travelers directly with their own professional website. Starting with a variety of vacation rental website templates, owners and professionals can create their own professional website with availability calendars, online payment processing, and a suite of marketing tools built into the software.

 

Rates and Pricing for your Vacation Rental Property

Written by: Taryn

Since our website re-vamp, we have placed a greater emphasis on rental rates, so that travelers can see accurate rates for the specific dates that they are looking to stay in an accommodation. It is now more important than ever for owners to input accurate rate information into their listing because travelers only pursue those opportunities that they know they can afford. Luckily for owners, inputting accurate rate information is a simple process with a powerful outcome: the more interested travelers you have, the more inquiries you get, and the more bookings they generate.

On the Rates page, there are several customizable items intended to make the rates displayed as accurate and personalized as possible. The first option you have is to decide on a currency in which the rates will display. There are 14 different currency options, including everything from the US dollar to the Brazilian real to the Indian rupee to the Russian rouble – and everything in between. Once you’ve picked your currency, it’s onto inputting the rates themselves.

On FlipKey, you have the option of adding as many rates as necessary to fully inform guests of how pricing varies throughout the year. There are typically two ways to differentiate rates – by designating the season, or by designating the duration of stay. Some owners choose to have a minimum length of stay, others don’t. How you personalize these options is up to you! Amongst the options when adding a new rate are:

  • Rate name
  • Start date
  • End date
  • Week night rate
  • Weekend night rate
  • Weekly rate
  • Monthly rate
  • Minimum stay

For each new rate you add, you have the option to set any or all of the above limitations, depending on how you operate your property. After you have submitted your desired rates, you also have the option of adding taxes, fees and adjustments that travelers should expect to incur when they stay with you. These fields include:

  • The type of fees (taxes, fees, security deposits)
  • The fee name
  • The description of that fee
  • The basis of the fee (whether it’s a percentage of the rental, fixed rate, etc.)
  • The actual cost
  • Whether this fee is required

This area allows you to lay out exactly the expenses a traveler should expect to incur. And if that’s still not enough, then there is a section for “Additional Rate Info,” where you can highlight additional fee information, discounts, and other details about rates and fees for your property.

After rates are submitted and properties have gone live on the website, one question we often get is – ‘why are my rates showing up in US dollars when I entered them in a different currency?’ The answer is simple: All rates in the search results display in US dollars in order to make the search process easier for travelers. If we had results coming up in 14 different currencies, then it would be nearly impossible to compare prices from one property to the next. This way, travelers scanning the search results can compare all of the rates in one currency. However, when the traveler clicks through to an individual listing, the rates will show up in the currency of your choice. Neat, right?!

Taryn Collins is a FlipKey owner services specialist and vacation rental marketing expert. Her bi-weekly blog, Ask FlipKey, aims to answer the difficult questions that vacation rental owners and managers ask every day. Submit your questions in the comments!

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